Retro: The Unquiet American


Leo McCarey
USA 1933
68 min

Many reasons could be cited why this is the best of all the Marx Brothers features, even though it was a commercial disappointment when it was first released in 1933. The last of the Marx Brothers movies in which Zeppo – the straight man among the brothers and the youngest (who replaced Gummo, the one who fulfilled this role on stage) – appeared, it is ­perhaps the only one whose anarchistic pleasures aren’t crippled or interrupted by romantic and ­musical interludes. (The climactic musical number here, “Freedonia’s Going to War”, is an integral part of the action.) Leo McCarey was inarguably the best director the brothers ever worked with, and the ­ridiculing of both nationalism and patriotism is more pointed than most of their other satires. This comedy also has the most beautiful (and beautifully abstract) sequence in any Marx brothers picture, staged in front of a mirror, developing a gag concept from Chaplin’s <![CDATA[<i>]]>The Floorwalker<![CDATA[</i>]]> (1916) and extending it to hallucinatory proportions. It also includes the second and possibly best appearance of Margaret Dumont (Groucho’s ideal foil) in a Marx Brothers picture, and also features Edgar Kennedy and Louis Calhern in memorable parts.

This film is screened together with <filmlink id=\"3135\">The Music Box</filmlink>.

  • Groucho
  • Harpo
  • Chico und Zeppo Marx
  • Margaret Dumont
  • Raquel Torres
  • Edmund Breese
  • Louis Calhern
Herman J. Mankiewicz
Related Movies